August 16, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
One of the most frequent requests we've received over the last year is a WBS for an Agile project. You can imagine our delight, then, when regular contributor Geof Lory shared his extensive Agile WBS with us. You're going to love this one. It's our new template this week, but not our only new resource. We also have Kimberly Wiefling on the challenges of remote work, several bloggers on the challenges of outsourcing, and (for those who missed it in May) a new recording of Sinikka Waugh's webinar How to Tame a Bully. Enjoy!
Working Remotely ... Face-to-Face
Globalization in today's business world is rapid and inescapable. As a result, many projects these days involve geographically dispersed teams comprised of members from a wide variety of countries and cultures. While language barriers, decision-making style, and time zones are well-recognized challenges, the positive benefits of global teams continue to drive this trend.
by Kimberly Wiefling
Me, I'm not so excited about some of the consequences of this shift to virtual teams. With the possible exception of sociopaths, I continue to prefer to work with people in the same room. Perhaps it's because I like socializing. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is the human interaction. Sitting alone in my office communicating by only electronic means feels . . . well, lonely! Plus there are many nuances of human interaction and teamwork that suffer from separation.
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Premium How-To Course
Evaluating New Projects
Presented by Cinda Voegtli
Having enough project ideas is rarely a problem. Figuring out which ones are important enough to merit your organization's time, money, and attention right now, well, that's a different story. This mini-course with ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli reviews techniques you can use to create and use selection criteria for your project portfolio. A detailed guideline and spreadsheet are included with this course recording, allowing you to work through the priority exercises as you listen, and see how your project portfolio might look when prioritized. The results may surprise you! 1.25 PDU
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WBS and Schedule Models
WBS Example: Agile Project Plan – PREMIUM
For those who believe you cannot run an Agile project on a schedule, or whose managers won't allow them to try an Agile project without a schedule, this example file will be a huge help. Contributed by Geof Lory of GTD Consulting, it breaks down critical Agile releases and Sprints/Iterations into high-level work, allowing the team room to self-manage within the iteration while still informing management of critical milestones and key review dates. Almost 200 tasks and milestones are included, illustrating how a sprint-based project might play out over time.
For Team Members
Meeting Minutes Formats – MEMBER
You're stuck doing the meeting minutes. Yay? We're not actually fans of "minutes" in the classic sense â notes that are too long usually don't get read, and the only useful meeting reference is one people will refer to. If you've got to do minutes, make them sharp, concise, and readable. You'll impress the heck out of everyone, and they might actually read them.
Beta Test Plan – PREMIUM
Beta testing with the customer is often critical to exercising your project deliverables in a way you can't duplicate in the "lab." Plus, you get customer and end user reaction to the functions and features that were developed, before the final product hits the shelf. This document provides an annotated outline for a full beta test plan document.
For Project Leads
Software Project Plan – MEMBER
If software is on the menu this fall, or if you just want to see how an intricate plan comes together, have a look at this template. It's a thorough and detailed outline for creating a software development plan, with annotations. It includes making tradeoffs on scope, resources, schedule and other issues with a quality focus, Excel worksheets for capacity planning, and much more.
Project Deliverables Release Form – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 30, 2012
Be confident when releasing deliverables to a wider audience. This form communicates that a deliverable has reached a specific state of completion, and thus can be safely deployed to specified groups of customers or users. It's a great sanity check for ensuring that all the I's are dotted and T's crossed.
Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises – MEMBER
This richly detailed presentation explains how to use Agile practices "at scale" for larger enterprises and the complex programs they usually run. It also includes valuable overview material on all the benefits Agile offers to an organization, so it can serve as a general warm-up to Agile for reluctant execs and team members alike.
Checklist for Trying Out Agile on a Project – PREMIUM
You don't have to dive into the deep end of the pool. This checklist summarizes one proven approach (of many) for applying and learning agile methodologies on a single project, as an experiment. You get to match the Agile approach to the project you want to test it on, and you get to be sure you're using the right project and the right approach with the right team.
What Does an Agile Project Plan Look Like?, by Kent McDonald
Would you know an agile project plan if you saw one? This classic column by Kent McDonald compares agile planning practices to traditional PM.
Building a Better Project Plan
Plan Development, Step 4: Estimate Work and Costs – PREMIUM
This template describes the process of estimating the work effort and duration for items in the WBS, as well as estimating costs for each item to feed into the project budget. Strictly speaking, cost estimating isn't part of the scheduling process, but in reality your schedule can't be considered complete unless it's been optimized for the best balance between scope, time, and resources/costs. You can't do that without some cost estimates, so we addressed it in this step of the planning process.
How to Tame a Bully: Working Successfully with Difficult People
If you missed this session in May, now's your chance. The recorded version of this engaging, interactive session with Sinikka Waugh will prepare for your next meeting with tough customers. Using real-life scenarios, this class helps participants improve their skills in dealing with the difficult people that sometimes populate our projects. You can learn to tame a bully! 1.5 PDUs.
Ann Drinkwater's latest entry on Managing the Manager has five great suggestions for PMs who find themselves in the challenging position of managing a project they don't actually control. Outsourcing can be a huge help, as long as everyone understands the roles and expectations.
Margaret de Haan is tired of "We" versus "Us & Them", so last week she challenged us to challenge the status quo. Her suggestions for the frustrations facing her current team are a great reminder that you don't have to change everything at once for change to be successful, but you sure can't wait for permission.
Ed Reynolds challenges us all to ensure that we're bringing in consultants for the right reasons, and to fill the right roles. His cringe-inducing stories provide great examples of what to avoid, and make you wonder what the consultants were thinking. We'd love to hear from both sides of the fence on this one.
Sinikka Waugh teaches an Introduction to Project Management course August 22 at the State of Iowa Hoover Building. This course in core concepts and skills is targeted for individuals who are not formal project managers and who have not had extensive formal project management training. PDS@iowa.gov for more information or to register. 7.5 PDUs.
Geof Lory travels to China late this month for an extended training gig. If you'd like to bring him to your neck of the woods, you can reach him through www.gtdconsult.com.
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